Common man disappointed
“I didn’t have enough money in my pockets to give taxpayers a little more. With this level of inflation, how much can we burden the middle class,”
“I didn’t have enough money in my pockets to give taxpayers a little more. With this level of inflation, how much can we burden the middle class,” announced finance minister Arun Jaitley while he presented the Modi government’s first Union budget. The white-collar worker may be chuckling, but the man on the street, the rickshaw puller, the tailor in the corner of the street and the servant maid are crying hoarse.
The aam aadmi’s major concerns were the rise in the price of essential commodities, increased petrol, diesel and railway fares, which weren’t addressed in the budget. While the price of cigarettes, tobacco, pan-masala, gutka and cold-drinks increased, rates of colour televisions, LCD and LED TV panels of less than 19-inches, were given a cut in customs duties.
P Indernath, a retired govt employee, rued, “I was expecting some decrease in fuel price and other commodities but I am happy the government did not increase it though. The budget is for the elite. There is nothing for the common man. Though the tax exemption limit is raised, it falls in the bracket which does not cater to the lower middle class. No health schemes have been announced for retired employees also.”
“The tax exemption limit should have been Rs 5 lakh. Rs 2.5 lakh is not fair for low-income employees who don’t earn much. With the issue of price rise not addressed, it would be difficult to survive,” lamented Yadagairi, a government employee.
However, there are contrasting opinions on how the budget would affect the common man. “Only the price of tobacco, cool drinks and imported steel, have been increased. These are not staple items. Food grains are still available at a reasonable price and the common man can very well survive on that,” said Sambasiva Rao, a kirana stall owner.
“It has nothing to offer for farmers. 4 per cent growth of agriculture in the next seven months is a good proposal, but nothing is clear on how the government is going to achieve it. The budget is more corporate friendly. There is nothing for the common man, let alone the farmer. If this trend continues, the next generation will opt out of farming and take up corporate jobs,” lashed out Malla Reddy, a leader of Rythu Sangham.
Victor Amalraj, former Indian football team captain, said, “It’s a good sign that budget has been allotted for sports which would ensure its development. But on the whole, the budget has been a big disappointment. We are forced to adjust and adapt to it.”
Corporates in the city however applauded the Union budget.
“Access is the key for healthcare and the sector benefits when more sections of the society are able to afford quality healthcare. In that respect, the focus on improving rural economy and the likely increase in disposable income of the urban middle class by virtue of the income tax changes would help the healthcare sector as well. Further, the setting up of more medical colleges as well as institutions like AIIMS are progressive measures,” opined Dr B Somaraju, chairman, Care Hospitals.
Echoing the same, Ramesh Loganathan, president, HYSEA said, “The overall budget is good as it is going to help the IT Industry. If the budget helps the insurance sector, investment would slowly come in and there would be a growth in the IT industry. Many software companies are based in Hyderabad and if there is a solid boost in the infrastructure, it is good for the city.”